The Copenhagen Zoo Controversy

Taylor L. Turner

Political Writer

The Copenhagen Zoo’s recent decision to kill a family of four lions has caused global criticism and outrage. In response to receiving a new male lion, the zoo decided to euthanize their existing male lion, lioness and two cubs in order to maintain genetic stability as well as to prevent confrontations between the lions. The zoo stated that avoiding this action “would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females – his own offspring – and thereby give rise to inbreeding”. The lion killings were not the zoo’s first incident of euthanizing animals to prevent inbreeding. In February, the zoo killed a healthy 14- month old giraffe and subsequently dissected the giraffe and fed it to lions in front of an audience that included children. The event sparked a petition on facebook to fire the individuals involved with the decision. Many zoo employees, including the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s staff, refute the zoo’s defense of these killings. The Columbus zoo’s spokesperson stated that their zoo does not allow “the euthanasia of our animals for population management.” Renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna expressed his outrage towards the zoo’s behavior by labeling their decision as “the most abominable, insensitive, ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.”

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